Lotuff & Clegg, an American leather goods manufacturer based in Massachusetts, has a good section on the quality leather that goes into their bags. Their tanning procedure begins by putting dried-out, stiff, leather hides into wooden drums along with a mixture of bark extracts, fat liquors, and organic dyes. The drums are slowly rotated and carefully monitored until the right color and moisture levels are struck. In the end, rough, wrinkled crusts are transformed into supple, durable leathers with all beautiful natural graining of a fine piece of wood.
However, there are still natural imperfections in the leather, and the hand cutting process is done with great care in order to get the best out of each hide. Lotuff’s bags are built from whole cuts of leather, instead of smaller panels pieced together, and since their bags are quite big, getting a full panel can be quite difficult. One suitable panel may only be found in every third hide.
Below shows a hide and some of the defects they have to work around. From looking at my own English briefcase, I could only find fat wrinkles in the interior leathers, and they were all at the bottom, far from sight. By now, through use, these parts have developed very big pebble textures. I admit I would have liked to see better leathers even inside the bag, especially for the prices they charge, but at least it’s in an area where you’d really have to dig around to notice.
Their photographs are instructional, however, and you can learn a lot about what to look out for when buying leather goods. Branding marks are obviously uncommon, but I’ve seen low-quality leather goods with scars and many more with flea and tick bites.
I’ve also included some photos from their new lookbook at the bottom. If you think the bags look nice in the photos, I promise you that they look much better in real life.
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